Call for Papers | Institutionalizing Islamophobia: Critiquing the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Framework and Emerging Programs

Center for Race & Gender Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project
& National Coaltion to Protect Civil Freedoms



Institutionalizing Islamophobia: Critiquing the Countering Violent Extremism
(CVE) Framework and Emerging Programs

CFP Deadline: December 1, 2015
Conference Date: February 5-6, 2016


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines “violent extremism” as “individuals who support or commit ideologically-motivated violence to further political goals.” The government’s concerns with violent extremism appears to be limited to policing “homegrown terrorism,” or acts of violence that are committed within the boundaries of the United States “without direction or inspiration from a foreign terrorist group.” Furthermore, government resources are directed at homegrown terrorism committed by individuals who self-identify as Muslim. The consequence is an overpolicing and securitization of Muslim communities in the United States under the rubric of “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE).

Several Muslim organizations have embraced CVE programs pursuant to a belief that such programs empower communities to both protect their youth from recruitment by foreign terrorist organizations and protect Muslims from government over-reach. By working with the government, cooperating Muslim organizations claim they are better able to shield their constituents from ill-informed, identity-driven counterterrorism practices. However, because CVE pilot programs in Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis focus solely on Muslim communities, it has become increasingly evident that CVE programs conflate Muslim identity with a propensity for violence. Moreover, the myriad factors that CVE claims to determine an individual’s propensity to engage in violence are broad and amorphous, such that participating in routine religious, political, and other constitutionally protected activities are criminally suspect.

Accordingly, this conference convenes scholars, advocates, and activists to explore and critique the fundamental assumptions and narratives on which CVE programs are founded. In addition to producing empirical and normative scholarship, the conference aims to develop advocacy strategies grounded in the experiences of those most directly and adversely impacted by CVE programs.

To this end, we are accepting paper proposal submissions that focus on one or more of these questions:

  • What is the relationship between CVE programs and Islamophobia?
  • How do narratives of empowerment euphemize the goals of CVE programs?
  • Can CVE operate in a racially or religiously neutral manner?
  • What is the relationship between CVE and the international war on terror?
  • What are counter-narratives to the CVE paradigm?
  • What role, if any, do Muslim organizations play in buttressing CVE programs?
  • How has CVE impacted particularly vulnerable segments of the Muslim American population?
  • How does CVE interact or overlay with conventional community policing paradigms?

The conference will take place on February 5-6, 2016 at Boalt Law School at the University of California-Berkeley. The deadline for paper abstracts and panel proposals is December 1, 2015. Prospective participants are encouraged to submit panel proposals. Individual and panel proposals can be emailed to the conference committee at OR you can fill out the form here to submit an individual paper or here to submit a panel proposal. Please include your name, paper topic, academic title, and institutional affiliation.

This conference is sponsored by the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project of the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California at Berkeley and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms.

Conference Committee:

Dr. Hatem Bazian, Berkeley University*
Dr. Maha Hilal, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
Professor Khaled Beydoun, Barry University School of Law*
Professor Sahar Aziz, Texas A&M University School of Law*

*Title used for affiliation purposes only.